Puslapio vaizdai

my perseverance. This stimulated me only the more. I went on the next day and the third; hope increased with the daily communications, and everything, step by step, gained more life as I became thoroughly master of the subject. Thus I kept myself uninterruptedly at the work, which I pursued straight onward, looking neither backward nor to the right or the left, and in about six weeks I had the pleasure of seeing the manuscript stitched."

[ocr errors]

Cornelia's memory is still further associated with her brother's first success by the discovery of her portrait sketched by Goethe in pencil on the margin of a proofsheet of "Goetz." A copy of it is given by Professor Otto Jahn in his collection of Goethe's Letters to his Leipsic Friends." The resemblance to Goethe is strongly marked in the prominent nose, and, above all, in the large eyes, of which he wrote: "Her eyes are not the finest I have ever seen, but the deepest, behind which you expected the most; and when they expressed any affection, any love, their brilliancy was unequaled." The face is interesting, but one that would be ordinarily classed among the very plain. Cornelia became early conscious of this, and tormented herself with the conviction that no woman without personal beauty could expect to inspire any man with love. It does not seem to have occurred to her that mental accomplishments might make up for the lack of beauty. Probably she had little idea of her own mental qualities, the state of isolation in which she was brought up having deprived her of the means of comparing herself with other girls of her own age, and kept her in ignorance of her superiority-a superiority due, first, to her own mental powers, and, secondly, to her father's unflagging instructions. In her diary, which is given in Professor Jahn's book, she indulges at great length in these self-tormenting reflections. Hapless Cornelia! the world reads this diary, which was her one secret from her brother, and which she wrote in French, perhaps with the idea that, should it be mislaid, the foreign tongue would keep it secret from many. It is addressed to one of her female friends. She has been reading "Sir Charles Grandison," and thus gives utterance to her feelings in school-girl French:

"Je donnerais tout au monde pour pouvoir parvenir dans plusieurs années à imiter tant soit peu l'excellente Miss Byron. L'imiter? Folle que je suis; le puis-je ? Je m'estimerais assez heureuse d'avoir la vingtième partie de

[ocr errors]

l'esprit et de la beauté de cette admirable dame, car alors je serais une aimable fille ; c'est ce souhait que me tient au cœur jour et nuit. Je serais à blame si je désirais d'être une grande beauté; seulement un peu de finesse dans les traits, un teint uni, et puis cette grace douce qui enchante au premier coup de vue; voilà tout. Cependant ça n'est pas et ne sera jamais, quoique je puisse faire et souhaiter; ainsi il vaudra mieux de cultiver l'esprit et tâcher d'être supportable du moins de ce côté-là."

Further on:


"Vous aurez déjà entendue que je fais grand cas des charmes extérieures, mais peutêtre que vous ne savez pas encore que je les tiens pour absolument nécessaires au bonheur de la vie et que je crois pour cela que je ne serai jamais heureuse. Epouserai-je un mari que je n'aime pas ? Cette pensée me fait honeur et cependant ce sera le seul parti qui me reste, car où trouver un homme aimable qui pensât à moi? Ne croyez pas, ma chère, que ce soit grimace: Vous connaissez les replis de mon cœur, je ne vous cache rien, et pourquoi le ferais-je ?"

These words show by what sentiments she was actuated in accepting the hand of John George Schlosser. Her brother's absence at Strasburg had brought back again to her the wearisomeness of her home life. Goethe had now returned from Strasburg a Doctor-at-Law, but was soon to leave again for Wetzlar in continuation of his juristical studies, as marked out years before by his father. Cornelia saw the world opening to her brother, and felt that her only happiness was slipping from her grasp. Her life at home without Wolfgang was intolerable to her, and to escape from it she accepted the offer of marriage.

John George Schlosser was an early friend of her brother. He was ten years older than Goethe, and when he visited Leipsic during Goethe's stay there, the difference in age caused the latter to look up to Schlosser as in many respects his superior. Schlosser afterward edited a literary journal at Frankfort, to which Goethe contributed, and the intimate relations with the brother led to the acquaintance with the sister.

The bridegroom had been promised an appointment in the Grand Duchy of Baden, and expected to be placed at Carlsruhe, the capital. But hardly had the newly married pair reached Carlsruhe, when they learned that they were to reside in Emmendingen, a little village on the borders of the Black Forest, where Schlosser was to fill the

post of Chief Magistrate of the County of Hochberg. Goethe humorously hints that probably neither the Grand Duke nor his ministers cared to come too often in con tact with Schlosser's blunt honesty, a view which is confirmed by Lavater's description of him, as a man made to tell princes truths which no one else would dare to communicate to them. With this very honest and not very lively companion, for whom she had no stronger feeling than esteem, Cornelia went to her exile in the Black Forest. Schlosser was very much occupied with his duties as magistrate, and devoted his leisure moments to writing moral and religious catechisms for the people. Rath Goethe said of his son-in-law that he seemed never to be done with having books, printed, and all his friends exerted themselves to moderate this mania for rushing into print. But, in spite of them all, he became a very voluminous writer of books, all of which, with the exception of some translations from the Greek, have long since gone into oblivion. Fancy a woman whose intellectual powers had been aroused and developed in the most intimate relations with a mind such as the world has rarely known-fancy such a woman shut up in the Black Forest with a man who wrote catechisms and replies to Pope's "Essay on Man!" In a town, she would have gathered about her a circle of which her great gifts would have made her the center. Goethe says: "I must candidly confess that when I dwelt often in fancy upon her lot, I could not think of her as a wife, but rather as an abbess, as the head of some honored community. She possessed every qualification that so lofty a position requires, but lacked those which the world persistently demands." In the lonely house in the Black Forest there was nothing left for Cornelia but intellectual and social starvation, to which was added ill health. She writes: "We are here entirely alone; there is no soul* to be found within three or four miles. My husband's occupations allow him to pass but little time with me, and so I drag slowly through the world with a body which is fit for nothing but the grave. Winter is always unpleasant and burdensome to me; the beauties of nature afford us here our single pleasure, and when nature sleeps, everything sleeps." Cornelia died in childbed in the fourth year after her marriage, leaving two daughters, of whom the younger died in her sixteenth year, and the elder married Professor

* That is, no one her equal in education or position.

Nicolorius. Schlosser survived his wife
many years, married again, died, and was
buried at Frankfort; but pitiless fate left
to Cornelia not even her remote and lone-
ly grave at Emmendingen.
The grave
was obliterated during an enlargement of
the church-yard, and thus, while the oaken
coffin containing the remains of Wolfgang
Goethe lies in state by that of Schiller in the
Grand Ducal Vault at Weimar, the last
resting-place of Cornelia is not merely un-
marked, but unknown.

The most widely known and loved member of Goethe's family was his mother. She possessed the qualities which win affectiona joyous temperament, a strong desire to please every one, a lively imagination, hearty good nature, and great common sense. Her youth and inexperience at the time of her marriage have already been alluded to. But she could not long remain a child in the difficult position in which she found herself between the children and the stern exacting father. All her energies were bent to securing tranquillity in the household, and she was the pilot who, with ready skill and quick wit, carried them all safely through many a stormy passage. The Frau Rath survived her husband twenty-six years, and this was the happiest period of her life, when she saw realized all her fondest anticipations of her son's genius, and felt that there was no prouder title than that of Goethe's mother. She concealed her joy and exaltation behind no thin mask of shyness, but openly laid claim to the honor she thought her due. She was very fond of singing in the circle of her friends her son's songs, which had been set to music by Reichardt; the song in "Faust," Es war einmal ein König," she was especially fond of; she would call upon the company to make a chorus, and at the conclusion would place her hand upon her heart and proudly exclaim, "Den hab' ich geboren."*

[ocr errors]

The coronation of the Emperor Leopold in 1790 filled Frankfort to overflowing, and guests were billeted upon all the inhabitants. The Frau Rath writes to Friedrich von Stein: "The quartermasters have not yet been here. Consequently I do not venture outside the door, and in this magnificent weather sit as it were in the Bastile, for if they should find me absent, they might take the whole house; these gentlemen are confounded quick at

[merged small][ocr errors]

taking, and when they have once marked | rooms, I would not advise any one to dispose of them in any other manner."

Two Mecklenburg Princesses were assigned to her, one of whom became afterward Queen of Hanover, and the other the celebrated Queen Louisa of Prussia.

These princesses, young girls, glad enough of a little freedom and liberty from the restraint of a court, begged to be allowed, for a frolic, to pump water from the old pump in the court-yard. The Frau Rath was only too glad to afford them so simple a pleasure; but when their governess found it out she was struck with all the horror becoming to a right-minded governess in such an emergency. The Frau Rath, accustomed all her life to stand between youth and authority, used every argument she could think of to divert her from her purpose of putting a stop immediately to such unprincess-like behavior; and finding all argument unavailing, pushed the governess into her room, and locked her in. 66 For," said she, "I would have brought down on my head the greatest annoyance sooner than have disturbed them in their innocent amusement, which was permitted to them nowhere except in my house." The Frau Rath conceived a great affection for these princesses, always speaking of them as "my princesses." They were afterward taken on a visit to the Elector's Court at Mayence, where a lady of high position at the Court, Frau von Coudenhoven, reproved the Princess Louisa for appearing with long sleeves, which circumstance, coming to the knowledge of Frau Rath Goethe, filled her with indignation. Some years later, when the Princess Louisa had become Queen of Prussia, she came to Frankfort, and invited the Frau Rath to visit her at Wilhelmsbad, near Frankfort. The Queen took her to the spring, and had her sit by her side while the guests came to pay their respects. The Frau Rath asked the name of every one, and among them was Frau von Coudenhoven. "What! the one who was so cross? Please your Majesty, order her to cut off her sleeves!" exclaimed she in the greatest rage.

After she sold the house in the Hirschgraben, the Frau Rath lived in hired apartments in a house on the Rossmarkt, near the central guard-house. The windows looked down the whole length of the Zeil, the principal street of Frankfort, and the

lively old lady doubtless found much companionship in the busy scene. Before she died she had spent nearly all of her property. It was once suggested to Goethe that his mother should be placed under guardianship, a suggestion which he warmly resented, declaring that his mother had the right to spend everything, if she wished, after having borne close restraint so many years with the noblest patience.

She died on the 13th of September, 1808, having given, as Goethe relates in a letter to Zelter, the minutest directions in regard to her funeral, even to the kind of wine and the size of the cakes which were to be offered to the mourners. Others have added that she impressed it upon the servants not to put too few raisins in the cake, a thing she never could endure in her life-time, and which would vex her in her grave. Hearing in the house the voice of an undertaker who had come to offer his services, she sent him a sum of money, with her regret that the arrangements had been already made.

The church-yard where the members of the Goethe family were buried is now a public promenade; here and there a monument or head-stone protected by a paling remains to tell of its former use. The Goethe burial-place had long fallen into neglect, and been forgotten, when the centennial celebration of Goethe's birthday in 1849 awakened attention to it. The position of the Herr Rath's grave could not be definitely ascertained, but the grave of Goethe's mother was found, and a simple stone was placed over it, inscribed, "Das Grab der Frau Rath Goethe," with the dates of birth and death. The grave is near the outside wall of the enclosure, a few rods from one of the gates. Few visitors to Frankfort fail to step aside to read the brief inscription, and note the appropriateness of the spot. As the daughter of a Chief Magistrate of Frankfort, and sprung from a family for many years represented in its councils, no more fitting burialplace could be found for Goethe's mother than in the very heart of the city where all her life was passed, and with which she so thoroughly identified herself. The busy life of the city goes on all about her grave, roses bloom over it, children play about it, and the whole place seems thoroughly in unison with the memory of this genial, large-hearted woman, one of the flowers of the Frankfort civilization of the last century.


STRIKE fuller chords, or let the music rest!
Of tender songs the world has yet no dearth,
Which scarce survive the moment of their birth.
Be thine in passionate cadences expressed,
And banish morning-glories from thy breast!
A purple dream-flower of the woods is worth
So little in the gardens of the earth;

If gift thou givest, give what we love best.

Since Life is wild with tears, and red with wrongs, Let these red lilies typify thy songs,

If with full fame thou would'st be comforted.

Since Life is red with wrongs, and wild with tears, Oh move us, haunt us, kill our souls with fears, And we will praise thee,-after thou art dead!


The Magazine's New Year.

ELSEWHERE the publishers have displayed to our readers their tempting bill of fare for the new year. It is not necessary to rehearse it "from the top of the table; " but we wish to call attention to the fact that we are endeavoring to make an American magazine. It seems as if American readers must be tired by this time of the ordinary English-society-novel, procurable in any quantity at a cheap rate. It has to do with a form of social life more conventional than our own, with scenery less grand and attractive, with personalities more feebly individualized, and with events and incidents as much less interesting | than those of American life as the conditions of English life are more artificial than ours. Men may talk as they choose, or as they believe, about age as being necessary to the creation of an atmosphere of romance. We do not agree with them. A child's age of romance is its own childhood. The life it lives, and the things it sees about it, form its romantic realm; and the childhood of a nation is peculiarly its romantic age, not only to the age which succeeds it, but to itself. There is notning more interesting to an American than a good story, either of his own time or of the time which has hardly retired from his personal memory. As in the realm of fiction, so in the department of philosophical and speculative discussion, we propose to make the magazine specifically American, so that all the questions of the time, relating either to others or ourselves, shall be treated from the American stand-point. If anybody prefers to import either his fiction or his opinion, he can easily do so in English books and magazines, which furnish the appropriate vehicle for them.

The two leading novels of the year upon which the present issue of our magazine enters, could only

have been written in America by Americans. Both relate to social and political beginnings, and are full of incident and character only to be developed in exceptional conditions of society, and only to be found on the American continent. Both will be surcharged with interest, and they are sure to have a universal reading. The Revolutionary Letters which we are to publish, the articles on American Colleges, with their host of brilliant illustrations which are to be produced, with a hundred essays, poems, and sketches of travel, will all go to the making up of a magazine which we intend shall not only satisfy readers at home, but fitly represent American literature abroad.

So (changing our figure), with all sails set, and colors flying, we float off into the new year, the cheers of a generous press ringing in our ears, and a great company on board, for whom we are to provide entertainment for a golden twelvemonth. May the skies be kind and the wind prosperous to passengers, officers, and crew!

The Political Outlook.

WE have a number of men and several parties in training for the Presidency. It would be very easy to name the men who are shaping their course and manipulating the wires for their personal advancement to that post, and at least two parties that are wondering what principles it will be best, on the whole, to adopt, in order to secure the ascendency. It is the old trick, which grows more and more disgusting every year; but it is to be played again. The people have nothing to say-the politicians everything. The man who wants to be President, and the cluster of politicians who wish to make him President, expect to wheedle the American people into their support. On one side or the other, they

will do this. No nomination, and no declaration of principles, will emanate from the people. Platforms will come forward at the proper time, all ready for the endorsement of the people, and a man will be nominated for their support. They are to be led, used, and despised by a set of political hacks, who hope to run the country for their own personal advantage. We shall be informed that there is "a crisis; " we shall be summoned to the support of "the principles of free government; " we shall be assured that Tubbs is our man, and that now is our time to rebuke corruption in high places, and "vindicate the majesty of the American people."

The position of the American voter is not a very dignified one. Theoretically, he has something to say and do in the selection of the man who is to rule over him. Practically, he has nothing to do but to endorse or condemn the man selected by a circle of politicians. Theoretically, a democratic government affords a fine opportunity for the selection of the best man for the highest office by the voice of a grateful, trusting, and admiring people. In fact, the best man never gets the highest office, and would never stoop to the low tricks and disgraceful compromises of personal dignity and political principle by which alone, under the present condition of things, the highest office can be secured. Instead of having a government of the people, we have a government of rings. The rings may not always be flagrantly corrupt; but they are rings nevertheless, and Tweed's ring, in its day, was no more real or vital than the rings which are now endeavoring to get the control of the country.

Still, the voters have the privilege of scolding, of warning, of protesting. It does not amount to much in practical results, but it helps to work off indignant feeling, and carries the semblance of independence. And now, 66 on behalf of many voters," and with no man and no party to serve, there is one word that we take the privilege of saying to the politicians, viz., that there is a single question which, in making up their platforms, and selecting their man, they will do well to consider very carefully, and handle very wisely. It relates to the currency of the country, and it has but one right side. "Much may be said on both sides," undoubtedly, by the office-seekers and politicians; but sound policy lies with the truth. No party in the next Presidential election can make itself responsible for the continuance of our present anomalous system of currency-much less for an exaggeration of it-without ruining itself, to say nothing of ruining the country. A nation, in the exceptional circumstances of a war, may live through its crisis on paper lies; but the moment the necessity retires, as peace comes in, it must take its lie along with it, for it can only remain as a curse. No nation can thrive permanently on irredeemable paper money. We can never have good times again until we do our business with truths, and not with falsehoods. We are living, not only in defiance of all sound financial policy, but in discord with the whole business world. Every dollar that we handle is practically a protested note, and has no value save as it rests upon another promise, not matured, and

sure to be indefinitely renewed. The system is rotten, root and branch, and, if the nation cares for its life, the quicker it gets "out from under " the better.

It is strange that at this very time, when there is more money than can be used-when men do not know what to do with the money they have-there can be anybody who seriously proposes to increase its volume, and preserve its basis. "Coined paper" is not money, and can never be used as anything but a representative of money. Our paper does not even represent money. We buy it and sell it for money, and it goes up and down in the market like paper rags. It is subject to just as many mutations as flour or potatoes. The paper a man takes to-day, at any given price, he may be obliged to sell tomorrow at a discount. The rise and fall of gold, as they relate to the price of paper, are constantly changing the values of everything, so that we have this element of uncertainty added to all the other elements. Wheat sells high or low, not simply through the operation of the law of demand and supply relating to itself, but through the operation of the law of demand and supply as it relates to gold.

No, this state of things cannot, must not, last, and the party that will give us release from it is the party of the immediate future. Any success achieved by adherence to the present policy must be temporary. Nothing but disaster has come of it; nothing but disaster can come of it; and the adoption of it into any national platform, by any party, will be sufficient reason, to any rational man, for leaving that party. We have arrived at the golden age of bolting, and voters, even though they have little to do with forming platforms and nominating men, can bolt. If they fail to exercise that privilege, they prove themselves to be the tools which politicians suppose them to be. Here is where the people can reach the politicians, and cause their opinions to be respected; and we really know of no other point where the politicians are so helplessly vulnerable. Let us all be ready to try it, if we have occasion.

Mr. Moody and his Work.

WE suppose there is no question that Mr. Moody has done a marvelous work in Great Britain. There is a great deal of curiosity here to know exactly what it was, and how it was done. The remarkable thing about it seems to be that there was no remarkable thing about it, save in its results. Not a revivalist, but an evangelist; not a stirrer up of excitement, but a calm preacher of Jesus Christ, Mr. Moody went to the British people, and talked in his earnest, homely way upon those truths which he deemed essential to their spiritual welfare, in this world and the next. Men went to hear him not only by thousands, but by tens of thousands. Not only the common people "heard him gladly," but very uncommon people-prime ministers, earls, duchesses, members of Parliament, doctors of the law, doctors of divinity, and clergymen by the hundred. All testified to the power of his preaching. The doubters were convinced, the wicked were

« AnkstesnisTęsti »